Between my day job, wedding and birthday cakes and general life, 2016 was not my most productive year…threadwise. However, it was a year in which I feel my freemotion embroidery skills took a step forward and I found my own style.
The year started with some seasonal appliqué.
Then there were the days I woke up with an idea in my head and couldn’t wait to put it on fabric.
Miniatures inspired by the Very Berry ATC (artist trading card) and mini hoop swaps.
free motion embroidery
Much of my time…and my heart…has been invested in portraits of pets and wild creatures.
owl in flight
commissioned pet portrait
I am still in love with the beautiful city of Bath, and want to many more cityscape and landscape embroideries in 2017.
The Winter is such a busy time with craft markets and Su and my ‘At home’ – not to mention a busy time in my day job and lots of Christmas baking…
I rather thought the New Year would be quieter all round, but actually all aspects have been decidedly busy – not least with commissions (and gifts) of appliqué and free motion embroidery portraits of pets…
Hampus the Swedish Vallhund
..and even horses!
Applique and embroidery landscapes and seed heads…
There are more commissions but I can’t share photos of them until I know they have been given to their final recipients.
Last weekend I ran a Fun with Freemotion workshop with Grownups Playgroup – it was so much fun! We started with tea and homemade biscuits (of course) while I chatted about the basics of freemotion applique and embroidery and we had a bit of practice with paper and pencil, to get used to moving the paper rather the pencil. Then it was time to move on to a calico doodle sheet…one of the most fun things to do with your clothes on! Seriously, just let your imagination run wild and sew whatever shapes and squiggles and pictures pop in to your head, making use of fabric flowers I had spent an evening cutting out in preparation.
Once everyone was comfortable with whooshing the fabric about under their needle and darning foot, we moved on to the pieces to be finished in an embroidery hoop. I had provided some applique templates in case anyone was short of ideas and it was so nice that everyone had their own designs in their heads…and they completed them beautifully! Moose, robin and dog.
It was just a half day workshop, but it seemed nice to finish with a tasty, veggie-friendly meal…lots of chat, and afterwards we had a tour of Su’s garden and admired her tadpoles (and willow work, of course!)
Finally, don’t forget to come along and say hello at the Larkhall Festival craft market (New Oriel Hall, Saturday 2nd May, 12.00 to 17.00)! Su and I will also be in Alice Park on Monday 4th May…being willowy!
…and that means a bit of Spring cleaning! Since I started Deerey Me I have been selling through Etsy.com, but most of my orders head off to the USA, so I am going to have a go at selling on Folksy.com to see if I get more UK sales: https://folksy.com/shops/DeereyMe
I am starting with pieces not previously available for sale and am concentrating on freemotion applique and embroidery.
If you fancy having a go at freemotion embroidery and applique yourself, you can have your chance on 11th April as we still have a few spaces on our Grownups Playgroup workshop! You will have a fun day learning about the equipment and materials that will help you along the way, getting to play by producing a stitched doodle sheet like this…
…and then make and take home a piece of your own hoop art, perhaps a couple of owls…
Ooh it’s been a busy Winter. Busy, but profitable. What has slipped has been writing (and housework…sorry Mark!). So here goes…a brief summary of 6 weeks in the life of Sue Deere, textile artist.
I have worked on a teeny weeny Artist Trading Card for the Very Berry Handmade swap:
I have had lots and lots of orders – many for pieces using the customers’ own photos, so I can’t really share them here while others were freemotion pieces and now Christmas is over, I can let you see!
My photos as well as textile art:
I had a number of craft markets and hugely successful and enjoyable open studio with my friend and willow artist, Su Macpherson (involving plenty of mulled wine and mince pies too!) – for the Christmas Fair at Bath Library I even had a very lovely young French lady to help me run the stall.
Su and I treated ourselves to a half day fused glass course at Silversides in Larkhall:
Excitingly, Su and I have also decided to work together running craft workshops – a creative fun day out, suitable for the absolute beginner: Grownups Playgroup
We are now booking for:
21 March 10.00 – 16.00 willow plant supports (only two places left)
28 March 10.00 – 16.00 willow sculpting
11 April 10.00 – 16.00 introduction to free motion embroidery
Please email email@example.com if you are interested in attending.
I will also be running a workshop for the Bath WI, making pincushions in teacups:
As well as all this crafty loveliness we have had a lovely selection of frosty mornings and Winter sunshine…stunning sunrises and delicate moonfalls.
A few brisk Winter walks to put roses in our cheeks:
Lots of wildlife to admire, including a kingfisher in the Botanical Gardens in Bath!
In contrast, the cats have been making the most of the central heating. Max has been experimenting with different resting places including Christmas presents, a hamper, boxes and a rather nice pack of truffles! Rio stuck to Mark’s dressing gown and the ironing board…
There were decorations…
…and lots of baking…
…injuries – little ones like burning my arm on the oven and bigger ones involving an ambulance ride to A&E when our neighbour tripped and cut her head badly.
There were party hats, racing wind-up robins, cocktails, two Christmas dinners, accounts and my first tax return…
A little while back I had a vision. It wasn’t spiritual or enlightening, I just had a picture in my head I wanted to put in to fabric. A picture of a tree on a hillside in rich autumnal colours. This was the result:
I have now sold this piece and the lovely lady who bought it commissioned me to make the other three seasons. It has been an absolute delight making these fabric pictures. Have a look at the rest of the year…
In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, hoopy is defined as “a really together guy” and a frood is defined as “a really amazingly together guy.”
As an example to put it in context, Zaphod says, “Hey you, sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is!”
Now I do know where my towel is (soft and fluffy and neatly folded in the airing cupboard), but in truth I am merely searching for a title for this post that might make embroidery hoops a little less…pedestrian.
[short aside: did I ever tell you that my old neighbours in Bristol reckoned I probably worked for MI5, as they couldn’t believe I was really a (then) thirty something who enjoyed quilting, National Trust gardens, and spending time with my cat Brian? Needless to say, they were wrong…but then if I were in MI5, I would say that wouldn’t I?]
So then, hoops. I like embroidery hoops as frames for textile pieces. I have a number of traditional frames, but they are more clunky – and much heavier to post – so I find myself stocking up on embroidery hoops. I have made a few ‘Mama Bear’ size pieces of hoop art that have been fun to do and have sold well…
Then I woke early one morning with an idea in my head and grabbed a ‘Daddy Bear’ size hoop…
Next I picked up a collection of ‘Baby Bear’ hoops and made some Christmas tree decorations…the most fun thing to do with your clothes on! I started with some sketches like this one:
Then I chose a snowy background and cut fusible fleece to the size of the inside of the hoops, ironed it on to the back of the background fabric, cut out my images from lovely thick pure wool felt (using my own pattern pieces), dropped the feed dogs and fitted a darning foot and away I went!
I am making the Christmas tree decorations to order for £5.50 each plus p&p – order through my Etsy shop or drop me an email: Christmas tree decorations
I have long been meaning to try a few applique/embroidery pictures of buildings. I had initially intended to start with our own humble home, but after recently visiting Prince Charles’ residence of Highgrove I felt inspired to set my sights a little higher. Photography is understandably not allowed in the grounds of Highgrove House and, although I loved every minute of the tour, I was itching to record the place somehow…and so here is my first building portrait (I don’t think my beach hut pictures and bags count!).
This is the view along thyme walk (the thymes having been planted by HRH Prince Charles himself, our guide informed us!). I really loved making this picture and my head is full of ideas for more!
The gardens at Highgrove are amazing – each ‘room’ has a different feel and the attention to detail is incredible. What I wouldn’t give to be allowed free reign to wander around the gardens one early morning with my camera…!
Yes, I know it is July and not technically Spring, but I have indeed been Spring cleaning. I had my fourth craft fair on Saturday and a few things have sorted themselves out in my mind.
I started Deerey Me wanting to try lots of things – because I like making so many different things – hoping something would come to the surface. I think it now has. What I enjoy most is free-motion machine embroidery and applique and I think I should keep my stock to this theme. I will sell cards and pictures and zip pouches and to that I may add brooches and tea cosies and aprons, but all will have my style of free-motion twiddliness.
One thing that has not sold at all at craft fairs and not too much recently online is the larger tote/shopping bags, so I am going to stop making them as stock (except the book bags). I am happy to make anything at all for custom order – tote bags, slippers etc – but I won’t keep them in stock and I won’t take them to craft fairs. My one exception to all this is Ellen Mouse. I love her too much not to have her around – and I don’t want all that CE testing to go to waste.
So, my friends, I now have some stock to clear out of my way. I have decided to take them out of my Etsy shop and sell them a few at a time on my Facebook page, so why not head over there, ‘like’ my page and see what bargains pop up each day!
In addition, the more free-motion work I do, the faster I get, so I am now able to reduce the price of my cards from £4.50 each to £3 each!
Finally, and I shall whisper this…my Christmas shop is now open over at Etsy: Deerey Me Christmas shop. I had a couple of people buying stocking-fillers on Saturday and thought I should be ready for the early birds. The Christmas section does include some non-applique pieces, but…well…Christmas is Christmas and some liberties may be taken!
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ― Cicero
Well I have a garden and few bookcases and a Kindle, so it is looking good – what’s more I got to spend Saturday in Bath central library! The really cool thing was that when I got there I found I had been allocated the table smack in front of everyone coming to the library’s craft market. It brought back so many memories of the library in Loughborough when I was little and would be taken to change my books. I remember the parquet flooring and how clean and shiny it was and sometimes there would be someone reading stories to the children and most of all I remember a book. A book with an illustration of a long table covered with tall, elegant jellies. Some things never change!
I do have wonderful book childhood book memories – my dad reading me Alison Uttley’s Sam Pig stories at bedtime, my sister reading Alan Garner books to me, sitting on the windowsill in her bedroom, and reading Watership Down myself one of the Summers I was sent to stay with my great aunt in Cornwall…I spent the whole Summer digging rabbit warrens in the sand.
Anyway, I digress. The craft market was not as financially successful as some, but was still profitable and I came away with some custom orders and I met ever so many nice people (and I think recruited a few to the Bath WI), lots signed up for the Deerey Me newsletter and I heard about people’s vintage patterns and button collections, saw photos of beautiful crocheted shawls and gave little dog stickers to lots of kids (and only one cried). It was fun.
I wanted to have a few bits and pieces appropriate to a library, so made some book bags – classics as I am not sure about copyright and whether I can use the name of the book (I queried whether I could use Harry Potter titles and the nice people handling copyright for JK Rowling were really helpful and replied the same day and explained that the HP copyrights are now with Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers have not yet responded…but I will stick at it!)
I also put my new found crochet skills to good use and made some pocket money friendly bookmarks – my fist sale was one of these to a cute little girl who wanted to use it in her library books.
I know it is hard to believe, but on Sunday I was somewhat tired and grumpilicious, so Mark took me to the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Britain (at Claverton on the outskirts of Bath). Nobody could be grumpilicious in the face of such colours!
Became even less grumpilicious strolling (well limping a bit) around the beautiful gardens before sipping lemon and ginger tea on the terrace.
After all this, I can only conclude that Cicero was right…If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
(Well…and a nice chap to help you unpack and pack your stock at the craft fair, carry your camera bag and lenses, wait patiently while you take even more photos of bees and has a pot of tea waiting for you when you’re finished)